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How Swanky’s Ecommerce Manager Service Increased Goondiwindi Cotton’s Revenue by 343% Amid COVID-19

Until the arrival of COVID-19, B2B fashion wholesale had always been Goondiwindi Cotton’s main focus. Find out how we helped this Aussie fashion brand to expand their D2C offering and increase their revenue by 343% with our innovative Ecommerce Manager service!

Written By
Hannah Leary

Family-owned Australian fashion brand Goondiwindi Cotton has been providing women with high-quality, natural-fibre lifestyle pieces since 1992. Their collection of timeless, wearable essentials specialises in the use of cotton, linen and merino wool, providing everyday styling that both looks and feels good.

Until recently, business-to-business (B2B) fashion wholesale had been Goondiwindi Cotton’s main focus, with their online store primarily being used to sell clearance items and last-seasons stock direct to consumers.

However, everything changed with the arrival of COVID-19.

The challenge: a rapidly-changing retail climate

With lockdowns in place across Australia, non-essential retail stores were forced to temporarily close their doors. The boutiques that Goondiwindi Cotton sold into had no option but to shut, leaving the brand with a great deal of winter stock unable to be delivered to stores. This B2B-first brand was facing a significant challenge.

Goondiwindi Cotton had to adapt. Quickly. It was no longer enough to rely on their brick-and-mortar retailers to stay in business. To survive, they would have to shift their focus to direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce. 

Having previously worked with us to upgrade their clearance site and streamline their business operations in 2018 (efforts which helped double the brand’s year-on-year sales in just one month!), the Goondiwindi Cotton team turned to Swanky once again to help fulfil their D2C vision.

How Swanky helped: outsourced Ecommerce Manager service

At the beginning of April 2020, Swanky Australia’s Sean Clanchy took on the role of Goondiwindi Cotton’s Ecommerce Manager – overseeing their pivot from a brand reliant on B2B wholesale to a multi-channel commerce machine. 

Far from your average growth retainer, this innovative full-service model leverages our extensive industry experience in the management of our clients’ entire ecommerce operations, driving tangible results through tailored, data-driven growth strategies.

Sean, supported by members of the Swanky team both in Australia and the UK, took on the management of the brand’s D2C Shopify store, ecommerce tech stack, paid marketing initiatives and retention strategy, leveraging technology partners like Gorgias and Klaviyo. 

Swanky’s Sean Clanchy visiting Goondiwindi Cotton HQ.

Discussing this unique full-service model, Sean said:

“As a business now selling D2C alongside its B2B channel, we’re helping Goondiwindi Cotton put in place structures that scale. We’re trying new things, helping them to move their business and brand proposition forwards and adapt to an interesting new retail climate.

Our main focus has been generating cash flow, helping them cover their overheads whilst their stockists have been closed. As restrictions start to lift and their wholesale channel opens back up, we’re continuing to scale up their D2C offering and really helping the team take control of their brand.”

Paid marketing

As a brand that has focused on wholesale for 28 years, a huge priority as Goondiwindi Cotton expand their D2C operation is raising brand awareness. They can now take full control of the end-to-end customer experience, so can enjoy experimenting with different marketing techniques to reach out to and build relationships with their customers.

“A priority of ours in the implementation of new paid marketing initiatives has been setting ROAS (return on ad spend) targets for Google and Facebook, so as to profitably acquire new customers,” explains Sean.

Let’s explore some of these digital marketing campaigns in more detail.

Google AdWords

In order to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to Goondiwindi Cotton’s online store, we implemented a series of keywords-based Google Ads campaigns – a brand new marketing tactic for this old-school fashion brand born in the bush!

Third-generation cotton farmer Sam Coulton, owner of Goondiwindi Cotton, has been clothing country folk for nearly three decades. (Image source: Country Style Magazine. Photographer: Marnie Hawson)

Alongside a small brand campaign, we focused on seasonal keywords relevant to their website’s product offering. Within each ad group, we tested different variations of ad copy in order to optimise ad performance.

Our PPC experts have also been experimenting with Dynamic Search Ads to fill in any gaps in our keyword based campaigns. With these ads, Google matches a user’s search terms with closely related content on your site, and then the headline and landing page of the ad are dynamically generated to match the search term – keeping ads relevant and capturing additional traffic.

Despite only running for three months so far, the positive results generated by our Google Ads campaigns have already demonstrated the value of PPC to the Goondiwindi Cotton team. 

Collectively, the campaigns have generated over 430 online orders throughout April, May and June, driving a healthy amount of revenue. Throughout June, we measured a return on ad spend (ROAS) of x8.41, meaning that for every $1 spent on Google Ads, Goondiwindi Cotton received AUD $8.41 in revenue.

Speaking of Swanky’s hopes to further increase ROAS, Athena Nathalia, Digital Marketing Executive, said:

“As we continue to optimise our campaigns through continuous testing and learning, we’re excited to drive even more value from Google AdWords! Now that we have a sufficient amount of data and benchmarks, we are ready to scale the business further and explore any untapped opportunities, including extensive bidding adjustments and more refined targeting strategy and automation.”

Google Shopping ads

As part of our management of Goondiwindi Cotton’s Google Shopping feed, we’ve implemented several product shopping ads to promote their online inventory and drive more qualified leads to their site. These ads send shoppers through to landing pages that showcase additional products, aiding product discoverability and encouraging people to explore further options across the store.

Orders and revenue attributed to these Google Shopping ads is steadily growing month-on-month. ROAS for June reached AUD $4.47 – a figure we aim to increase as our work with Goondiwindi Cotton continues.

Facebook ads

Another important aspect of Goondiwindi Cotton’s revitalised advertising drive is Facebook Ads, something that Swanky is managing via an external vendor. Facebook provides a valuable opportunity for the brand to capture new prospects and move existing leads through their marketing funnel.

The brand’s top-of-funnel ads leverage existing lifestyle photography to create eye-catching visual content that attracts and engages the target audience. The goal of these ads is to drive awareness of the Goondiwindi Cotton brand and create a buzz for their products.

An example of one of Goondiwindi Cotton’s Facebook Ads.

Their campaign content varies week-to-week, reflecting regular changes in product focus and inventory availability. With large amounts of inventory sitting in their warehouse in the wake of cancelled B2B orders, a key focus has been to leverage ‘spend and save’ strategies to increase basket size and ultimately boost average order values (all without wanting Goondiwindi Cotton to be perceived as a ‘discount brand’). 

At the bottom of the funnel, Dynamic Product Ads have been implemented in order to retarget shoppers that have already interacted with the Goondiwindi Cotton site, with the goal of driving conversions

The Flexify app syncs their Shopify store with Facebook, which ensures that any product changes on their store are automatically reflected in their ad campaigns.

Overall, this cross-funnel Facebook Ad strategy has driven some impressive results so far, with average ROAS over the life of Swanky’s engagement measuring AUD $13.10.

Impact of paid marketing

Talking about the impact of these paid marketing initiatives for the brand, Marianne Marshall, Goondiwindi Cotton’s Senior Designer, said:

“One of the most positive things that has come out of paid marketing is an increased brand awareness in urban areas. As a brand, we largely supply stores located in rural areas throughout Australia, however, selling online coupled with the increase in investment around paid marketing has allowed us to reach a far greater audience, who have certainly embraced the brand and the product on offer.”

A future-proofed tech stack

Alongside digital marketing initiatives and general UX improvements across their Shopify store, Swanky is also actively working to improve Goondiwindi Cotton’s ecommerce tech stack. The aim is to future-proof their operations with solutions that scale.

Back in 2018, a key focus of our work with Goondiwindi Cotton was to streamline and automate time-intensive admin processes that were limiting the capacity of the team. This saw us implement customer engagement solution Klaviyo and layered review tool Okendo.

To further streamline their back-end processes and support their D2C expansion, we turned our attention to improving Goondiwindi Cotton’s customer service offering.

Improving customer service

As a result of their increasing investment in advertising, combined with high levels of customer uncertainty amidst the ongoing COVID crisis, Goondiwindi Cotton are receiving a greater number of customer enquiries than usual. These range from queries about specific products, to questions about the brand’s manufacturing processes.

To help the team manage this increase in queries, we implemented popular customer service solution Gorgias on their Shopify store. This powerful ecommerce helpdesk tool integrates with their emails, Facebook and Messenger, helping them to respond to customer questions from across a range of channels quickly and efficiently. It centralises all customer service tickets in one unified dashboard, allowing for fast, personalised responses. 

Gorgias also allows the Goondiwindi Cotton team to automate repetitive customer service tasks, giving them more time to engage in meaningful conversations with their customers – thereby improving the overall experience that customers have with the brand.

Discussing the benefits of using Gorgias, Senior Designer Marianne Marshall said:

“The opportunity to create macros that can be used to answer frequently asked questions means customers can be responded to quickly and efficiently, and the voice of the brand in responding remains consistent no matter who is using the tool.”

Find out more about Gorgias and the benefits it offers retailers in our Ecommerce Spotlight series.

Results

Faced with a potentially catastrophic situation for their B2B-first brand, Goondiwindi Cotton grabbed the commercial opportunity presented to them with both hands and made a smart investment in their D2C channel.

By the end of May (in just two months, and all amid a global pandemic!):

  • Goondiwindi Cotton’s revenue had increased by a staggering 343%.
  • Their number of monthly orders had grown by 230%.
  • There was a 34% increase in average order value.

Expanding their D2C offering has helped future-proof Goondiwindi Cotton, allowing them to improve their brand visibility, directly marketing to a new, much broader, audience.

The direct, end-to-end interaction they have with shoppers has also allowed them to capture rich customer data, helping them understand their audience better. In the words of Senior Designer Marianne:

“One of the key benefits of expanding our D2C has been the amount of information that is now available around demographic, consumers, styling, sizing, popular colours – all of which will help us continue to evolve as a brand, and build on our strengths based on consumer demand.”

What’s more, this increased brand awareness has had a notable impact on Goondiwindi Cotton’s B2B visibility across the country, particularly as the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have eased. Several new retailers from across Australia’s largest cities are now actively pursuing the brand, eager to sell their products in their boutiques.

Discussing the impact of Swanky’s innovative full-service Ecommerce Manager model on Goondiwindi Cotton, company owner Sam Coulton summed it up by saying:

“Without Swanky, our business wouldn’t exist anymore. It’s as simple as that.”

What’s next for Goondiwindi Cotton?

With some seriously promising results achieved in such a short space of time, we’re excited to see how we can continue to grow Goondiwindi Cotton as a successful multichannel business

Talking of our roadmap for this fast-growing fashion business, Swanky’s Sean Clanchy said:

“One of the plans we’ve got in the pipeline includes integrating Shopify POS at the brand’s own store in Goondiwindi – watch this space!

We’re also working on integrating the brand’s Shopify store with MYOB, their accounting software, and Niche, the system that Goondiwindi’s design team uses for things like costings and production, as well as wholesale order entry, allocation, and sales reporting amongst other tasks.”

Grow your ecommerce business with Swanky

As an end-to-end ecommerce agency with a decade of experience under our collective belt, we’re passionate about accelerating growth for ambitious ecommerce brands. We deliver a number of specialist digital services, including ecommerce growth consultancy, to drive awareness of your business, generate more conversions and increase revenue at speed.

To find out more about how Swanky could help your brand navigate the retail revolution with our Ecommerce Manager Service, get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus Experts today!

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